How athletes can stay on top of their game during the off season
To take your game to the next level on the field, it is important to focus on your habits and skills off the field. Joshua Vaughan, PT, shared what you can do during the off season to help you prepare to get back out there when your game begins again.
“In order to become a bigger, faster, stronger, athlete overall, you need to be devoting time to your body in the weight room and gym,” said Vaughan. “Strength and conditioning are incredibly important and have many benefits, including faster speed, better endurance, and it can decrease your chance of getting injured. But don’t forget about your specific game or sport. Practicing your game or sport for a few hours a day multiple times a week year-round will also improve your skills on the field.”
Can working out help you stay healthy and injury free?
While injuries in sports are inevitable, Vaughan said proper programming for both in-season and out-of-season training can decrease your risk for injury. Spending time improving your strength, endurance and movement mechanics will set you up to perform at your highest potential with the greatest chance of staying on the field for the whole season. “If you don’t know where to start, seek out a training or rehab professional who can help set you up on a specific plan to meet your goals,” he said.
Should you do the same training year-round?
“During a portion of the off season, you need to train differently than you do during the in season. It is important to shift your focus from practicing on the field to getting stronger and faster. This may mean fewer soccer practices and more weight room sessions, fewer long practices/runs and more running mechanic training,” said Vaughan. The off season also gives you an opportunity to focus on resolving any lingering injuries or aches from your in-season training.
Will playing other sports help you be a better athlete?
Vaughan said research shows there are great benefits from playing other sports. “Playing other sports can help promote overall athleticism and introduce new ways to strength train or improve cardio endurance, as well as prevent athlete burnout and reduce your overall risk of injury.”
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